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THE AGE OF ALUMINUM

Age of  Aluminum profiles people whose health has been seriously impacted by aluminum exposure, and interviews the leading scientists who are examining the link between this known neurotoxin and a growing epidemic of illnesses.

In recent years a growing body of scientific evidence links aluminum exposure to life threatening illnesses and disabilities including breast cancer, autism, and Alzheimer’s, while industry and regulatory agencies perpetuate the myth that aluminum causes no harm.

This film provides an in-depth look at the serious long term risks of aluminum exposure in order to educate consumers about the dangers associated with aluminum. It aims to empower consumers with the knowledge and tools to protect their health and urges them to advocate for policies and practices safeguarding public health.

Directed by Bert Ehgartner

Produced by Langbein & Partner Media

Distributed by The Video Project

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BEYOND MEASURE

Every day we hear stories about the troubles in American education: our test scores are stagnant, we’re falling behind our international peers, and our schools are failing to prepare future generations to succeed in the 21st century. For the last decade, this story – and the fear it inspires – has shaped the way we talk about our education system and informed our policies.

But what if the efforts we’ve been pushing so hard in our schools are actually the things that are leaving our education system worse off? What if the initiatives that narrow, standardize and pressure our school environments are the reason our children are less engaged in school and less prepared to be thoughtful, capable, contributing adults? 

In Beyond Measure we set out to challenge the assumptions of our current education story. And what we found was a revolution brewing in public schools across the country.

From Kentucky to New York City, we follow schools that are breaking away from our outmoded, test-driven education culture and pioneering a new vision for our classrooms. Schools that are asking our students to invent, to make, to imagine how they can effect change in the world today. Schools that are transforming the roles of students and teachers and putting more faith in the ingenuity of our children. And schools that are dramatically improving outcomes for children of all backgrounds.

Beyond Measure fills a void that too many other education stories have left empty – a positive picture of what’s innovative and possible in American education when communities decided they are ready for change.


A film by Vicki Abeles

This film is complete and is in distribution.

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BIRTHRIGHT?

The Medea Project’s Birthright? is a searing dramatic narrative of deep connections between women’s health and reproductive rights and the stark realities of rape, of living with HIV and of women finding their voice in a male-dominated world that often demeans and devalues them. The Birthright? video documentary weaves the creation of the Birthright? live performance with the stories of its creators – women finding empowerment through telling the truth – telling the truth to themselves, to each other and to the world.

Birthright? originally grew out of conversations between the Medea Project and Planned Parenthood in the greater Bay Area. The Medea Project, founded and led by Cultural Odyssey’s Rhodessa Jones, is among the most provocative of contemporary theatrical workshops.

Rhodessa: So many folks depend on Planned Parenthood as their community clinic. We’ve learned that Planned Parenthood plays into the lives of many of the broken and wounded people. We are taking their language, their ideas, their images, and the color oftheir words to create stories of survival.

Producer/Director of “Birthright? – The Documentary”:  Bruce Schmiechen

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EVERY BEAT OF MY HEART

The life and legacy of Johnny Otis: the Godfather of R&B, composer, bandleader, disc jockey, civil rights activist, preacher, and artist, who grew up in a Greek immigrant family, but defined himself as African-American.

Every Beat of My Heart is a personal and musical biography of Johnny Otis, the musician, bandleader, producer and songwriter who is often called the Godfather of Rhythm & Blues. But it is more than the biography of one man, just as the story of R&B is about much more than music. Johnny’s odyssey through the world of African-American music in the 20th Century is a window into arenas of race and culture that have defined and transformed contemporary America – and, in turn, have touched the whole world.

Produced by Bruce Schmiechen, Michael Anderson & Kevin White

Directed by Bruce Schmiechen

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Fiddles on fire

Fiddles on Fire explores the exploding popularity of fiddle music by following eight contemporary fiddlers whose excellence in their tradition-based fiddle styles has inspired audiences the world over. Fiddlers representing diverse and evolved traditions come together in a musical convergence, breathing life into lost fiddle tunes and swapping stories. Commentary by folklorists is intercut with musicians’ personal narratives, historical footage, and archival photographs to plumb the meaning and magic of the modern fiddle revival.

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GAZING INTO THE PAST: THE UNBOUNDED VISION OF JAMES CAHILL

James Francis Cahill (Chinese: 高居翰; pinyin: Gāo Jūhàn (1926 – 2014) was an art historian, curator, collector, and  professor at the University of California, Berkeley.  He was one of the world’s top  authorities on Chinese art.  Gazing into the Past is a one-hour portrait film of Cahill and the art he studied and interpreted for generations of students and scholars.  Cahill changed the way the world looked at Chinese and Japanese painting.  The interviews with former students, colleagues, curators, and friends provide rich opportunities to focus on the art itself, which was Cahill’s main goal throughout his career. The parallel approach will create an impression of a man and his life, and a clear understanding of how the study of Asian art developed during the second half of the 20th century.

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Harold and Leo go to war

Two Jewish Americans, Harold Kozloff and Leo Litwak, drafted into the U.S. army and swept into the throws of World War Two as infantrymen, took diametrically opposed paths as they confronted war. Harold discovered that he was able to kill and good at it, and Leo determined he was unwilling to kill, but willing to serve as a medic, providing medical aid to soldiers in combat. Both men witnessed the horror of war and the inhuman face of combat, and came to understand that the monsters in a war are not always the enemy.

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Home yet far away: The Feminine Iran, the masculine u.s., it's not a gender issue

Home Yet Far Away tells the multi-layered story of an Iranian-American daughter looking for love, reconciliation, and forgiveness with her father, while looking at feminine and masculine forces in Iranian and American cultures. All the while, she tries to envision a new dialogue and understanding between her two adversarial homelands.

Iranian born filmmaker Sabereh Kashi left her traditional mother and the restrictive gender politics of Iran to live a free lifestyle in the West. Years later in California, the shock of her mother passing prompts her to seek The Feminine, the energy of the body, emotion and connection and what she has missed through all the years spent on education, career, and immigration to the West. She travels for five years between Iran and America, staying six months in each, while building a closer relationship with her distant father.

Her search follows the path of the Persian Cinderella, Moon-forehead. Like this fairy tale, the death of her mother becomes her catalyst to seeking the divine Feminine, launching her into a frightening journey to the bottom of a well. Sabereh heads home to Iran a broken spirit – the life she sought in her 20s has eluded her, and she is divorced and lonely. Like Moon-forehead she confronts the monster in the well, her authority-figure father who insists that she stay or go and “stop clowning” in her life. She patiently takes care of him, so his harsh treatment gradually gives way to a deep understanding and respect for her dual life. Thus she leaves with a blessing of a light to find her way.

During visits to Tehran, among men and women walking in crowded sidewalks along small shops and food vendors, fashionable young people hanging in modern shopping malls and old bazaars, along with pollution and traffic, highrises and highways, Iran reveals itself to be caught between modern aspirations and ancient traditions, the beautiful imagery of mosques, palaces, houses, and bridges of Isfahan, the famous capital of Shah-Abbas the Great (1571-1629). In her return visits to Oakland, California to an old redwood house adorned with stained glass windows and abandoned objects, Sabereh meets new housemates in the co-operative house where she lives and engages in conversations with more than 100 transient residents. She reflects on her experience of growing up during the 1979 Iranian revolution and shares her despair about the threat of U.S. military action and crippling sanctions against Iran, remembering the horrifying years of the Iran-Iraq war.

Near the end of his life, her stoic father warms to his daughter. He even offers to dance for her film. Witnessing a Shia grieving ritual after her father’s death brings Sabereh to an epiphany that Iranian culture embodies the feminine and American culture the masculine. Inspired by a sacred geometric Sufi Islamic art created by her late uncle, Sabereh finds peace between the feminine and masculine, between Iran and her adopted home.

Directed by Sabereh Kashi

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HOW TO SMELL A ROSE

How to Smell a Rose: A Visit with Ricky Leacock in Normandy is a one-hour film in which Les Blank visits Richard Leacock in France. Conversations between the two legendary filmmakers, who have both passed away, explore Leacock’s life and work as a charismatic and trailblazing documentary filmmaker and co-founder of America’s Cinema Verité movement, which forever changed the way non-fiction films are made. Before the early 1960s the standard way of making films was with heavy and cumbersome equipment­ that limited the access the filmmakers had to their subjects. Leacock’s innovations and approach became instrumental in creating a new form of documenting events on film by abandoning these impediments. His quest was to create “the feeling of being there.” Over meals and walks in the French countryside, Leacock shares with Blank the memorable moments of his filmmaking career and the extraordinary people he met along the way. Clips from Ricky’s films and Ricky’s talent as raconteur bring to life the magic moments that changed filmmaking forever.

A film by Les Blank and Gina Leibrecht.

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Impresario

Producer/filmmaker Marc Huestis is a galvanizing voice of non conformity since the early days of the Gay Liberation Movement.

Force of nature, filmmaker and producer Marc Huestis has been a galvanizing voice of non conformity since the days of the Gay Liberation Movement of the 1970s. He continues to defy expectations by surviving HIV and delightfully orchestrating personal liberations of his own.

Produced and Directed by Lauretta Molitor.

www.trouserfilm.com

 

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Intrinsic Spin

San Francisco identical twins, PETER and DAVID are starkly contrasting adults. Devastatingly, David’s death to CCL leukemia forces Peter to face the limitations of his HIV positive status. Legally unable to become his brother’s bone marrow donor, Peter must deal with the guilt surrounding his brother's death. He begins an emotional journey which leads him towards disclosing his status to other family members, unleashing his resentment towards his own partner and escaping the city to an HIV retreat in rural Mendocino, where he ultimately confronts himself. He returns to San Francisco, discovering what it means to be twin-less and begins his path towards finding a new normal.

WRITER/ DIRECTOR Luke Anthony
Experiencing discrimination and recognizing a shared interest in others, I aspire to join and advance people through the power of cinema by telling personal stories that acknowledge our struggle.
Warsaw IFF/ Sydney IFF/ Melbourne IFF/ Copenhagen IFF/ Rotterdam IFF/ Flickerfest IFF (Audience choice)/ LA Webfest (Nomination) Australia Film Industry (Nomination)/ Strasbourg IFF/ Sao Paulo IFF/ NY Newfest IFF/ Sydney Mardi Gras IFF/ Melbourne Queerfest IFF
 
PRODUCER Mando Stathi
The socio political and the human emotional contexts of creating a story about HIV is an opportunity to evolve outdated stigmas within previously unreachable and apathetic audience demographics.
Leeds IFF, London Independent FF, LA Greek FF, Drama FF, Athens International FF, Women’s International Film &Art Festival, Sunscreen FF, Maverick Film Awards, Kinofilm Manchester IFF, Hellas Filmbox Berlin, Festival International Signes de Nuit

EDITOR Kant Pan
At it’s lifeblood the film explores the scope of human reactions to loss and grief through a narrative structure that invites the audience to observe characters at their most personal and honest junctures.
Oscar Nomination for Editing on Neil Jordan’s film ‘The Crying Game’, Cymru BAFTA nomination for Editing of ‘Solomon and Gaenor’.

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LILY: WE’RE ALL GETTING OLDER

Lily: We’re All Getting Older is the fourth film about a Down Syndrome woman who was raised by her family in Bolinas, was mainstreamed in grade and high school, lives independently, and is currently facing the issues of aging. Lily has worked at Safeway for 22 years. She remains cheerful and positive as she faces memory loss, sleep apnea and the possibility of Alzheimers.

A film by Liz Grace, Lily’s mother.

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Met(t)a

 

MET(T)A explores the universality of trauma and resilience through the eyes of refugee and immigrant patients and health care providers navigating the medical system. This character-driven feature documentary touches the heart of current debates on immigration and health care at this pivotal moment when these two issues dominate the country’s consciousness.

Rodrigue is a newly arrived refugee from war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo who, along with his mother and seven siblings, is struggling to adapt to life in Lowell, Massachusetts. Training to become a medical interpreter at the local community health center, he ultimately aspires to be a social worker to help his community heal from trauma. Socheat, a Cambodian immigrant, seeks tools to combat the stress of supporting her aging parents, teenage daughter, and disabled brother on a manicurist’s salary. The entire family experiences the benefits of meditation classes and culturally tailored wellness approaches at the health center. Sue, a nurse to both families, examines the continued impact of her own traumatic experiences, thriving in the U.S. after surviving the genocide in Cambodia and now supporting others to do the same.

Across the country in Oakland, California, Edgar and Yania, a young couple from Mexico and Uruguay, provide healing to their community through outreach to day laborers and Spanish-language yoga classes. Their aspirations to become a social worker and a nurse are threatened by possible deportation
due to their tenuous immigration status under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). At the same health clinic, Norma, a Guatemalan immigrant, provides interpretation into her community’s indigenous Mayan language, while she watches new arrivals from her homeland fight for asylum and safety.

Common ground and chance connection intertwine these stories as MET(T)A spotlights the profound importance of culturally responsive medicine that joins mental, physical, and spiritual paths to wellbeing. In the midst of an increasingly xenophobic climate, the film humanizes those who have come here, sharing their wisdom and perspectives that enrich and strengthen our communities. 'Metta' is the Buddhist Pali term for ‘loving kindness’, while in Spanish, ‘meta’ means a goal to be achieved. As violence destabilizes populations across the country and the world, MET(T)A moves audiences to envision new understandings of wellness for all. The film is currently in production with a scheduled release date in 2018.

 

Director/Producer Michelle Grace Steinberg and Producer Robyn Bykofsky

www.underexposedfilms.com

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PLASTIC MAN: THE ARTFUL LIFE OF JERRY ROSS BARRISH

Plastic Man: the Artful Life of Jerry Ross Barrish follows Jerry Ross Barrish on his hero’s journey where art is his salvation. Like an alchemist, Barrish fashions sculpture out of found recycled materials to communicate a story. His journey includes prevailing over his learning disability, dyslexia, a decade long career as an independent filmmaker and over 50 years as San Francisco’s best-known bail bondsman. “Don’t Parish in Jail, Call Barrish for Bail,” was the tagline for Barrish Bail Bonds, founded in 1961. Jerry bailed out political activists from the Civil Rights movement, Free Speech movements, anti-Vietnam protestors, and demonstrators supporting Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University.

Produced by Janis Plotkin.
Directed by William Farley.

This film has been completed and is in distribution.

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Racing To Zero

Racing To Zero is a quick moving, up-tempo documentary that presents new solutions to the global problem of waste. Although waste may create garbage, garbage is in itself a RESOURCE, and that is key.

Garbage has an enormous impact on global warming and contributes to 44% of the greenhouse gases that are affecting the environment. The World Bank’s global analysis projects a staggering increase in garbage during the next 13 years from 1.43 billion tons per year to 2.42 billion tons per year in 2025.

A new culture of awareness is spreading and leading people to adopt new practices, create new businesses, and develop new composting technologies in an effort to eliminate waste. The goal is to educate people to make an informed decision, read labels, use less, and buy with recycling in mind.  Our adventure is an on-going treasure hunt. We can and must live off our garbage and the race can be won. The simple substitution of the word RESOURCE for the word GARBAGE produced a new pot of gold.

Directed by Christopher Beaver

Produced by Diana Fuller

This film has been completed and is currently in distribution.

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sands of war

Sands of War  tells the forgotten story of the Desert Training Center — 18,000 square miles of rugged terrain in the Mojave Desert where a million soldiers came to train for battle in WWII. Founded by General George S. Patton in 1942, the DTC tested men and machines in a setting as close to real combat as could be devised.  Using both current and rare archival footage, and told through the personal experiences of WWII veterans, the program provides a compelling account of the young men and women thrust onto the stage of world conflict.

Produced, written & directed by David Donnenfield and Kevin White

Narrated by Peter Coyote

Edited by Susan Utell

Filmed by Steve Davy, Don Starnes, David Donnenfield and Kevin White

Sound mix by Sirius Sound

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Saving the Bay 2

 

Saving the Bay 2 shows how San Francisco Bay is now growing after 150 years of shrinking due to human intervention.  This follow up program to the popular Saving the Bay series highlights the challenges and opportunities that come with a bigger San Francisco Bay and goes back in time to illustrate how climate change in the Bay Area has been a constant since the Ice Ages.  

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SOUNDS OF THE NORTHERN WILD

Civilization has a nature deficit disorder. Listening to natural sounds is an antidote.

In 2006, Bernie Krause led a team of nature sound recordists to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. There they captured the song of the waters, the music of the hills, the calls and cries of wildlife. Sounds of the Northern Wild is a half-hour documentary film about the Arctic Soundscape Project. It is also an introduction to the appreciation and recording of nature sounds for educational, scientific, and esthetic purposes. It will open viewers’ eyes to what their ears have missed.

Producer/Writer: Stephen Most.
Director: Bob Hillman.
Executive Producer: Steve Michelson.

This film has been completed and is currently in distribution.

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THE DAUGHTER’S VOICE

There are moments when the human race spreads its improbable wings and actually soars. This is one of those moments.

The Daughter’s Voice presents the interlocking stories of five young women from the Terai region of Western Nepal, where poverty and severe oppression have forced generations of girls into indentured servitude. Many of these girls were sold for less than 60 dollars a year and some were taken from their families as young as five years old.

Now freed, after toiling for years as indentured servants, our film’s main characters have become leaders in a movement to abolish this embedded practice of slavery, known as Kamlari. The girls tell the astonishing tale of how almost 13,000 girls have been rescued over the past 14 years.

Transformed into powerful activists, the freed slave girls have created their own NGO, The Freed Kamlari Development Forum (FKDF). With over 1,700 members, the FKDF is helping the girls build new lives through education, vocational training, micro financing, and peer counseling. Their continued activism, often at great personal risk, has essentially abolished the Kamlari practice – and changed the way a nation views, and values, its women and girls.

Why tell this story?

With the world’s attention now focused on gender equality as key to healthy societies, and the shocking number of women still enslaved worldwide, The Daughter’s Voice will be the centerpiece for a global outreach campaign that will raise awareness, showcase a successful model, and stimulate funding for organizations working to end child slavery in countries around the world.

A film by Roy Cox & Robin Mortarotti

Click here to visit our website.

Click here to download the funding proposal.

Click here to see Olga’s Promise, the inspiration for The Daughter’s Voice.

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Town between two worlds: the Gold Rushes of Nevada City

An inspiring story of a town in transition – from destruction to sustainability, from self-interest to community, from greed to service.

This 60-minute film is the inspiring story of a town in transition—from destruction to sustainability, from self-interest to community, from greed to service.
 
Born in the 1849 California Gold Rush, Nevada City began as a town full of “get rich quick” gold-seeking immigrants, who decimated the local Native American population, leveled the great Ponderosa forests, destroyed the land, and poisoned their waters, in a mad scramble for wealth. But a hundred years later, the mines exhausted, the town was dying and land was cheap.
 
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a new wave of immigrants from big cities, including Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gary Snyder, bought land and settled in the nearby ridges above the sparkling Yuba River.  The new counterculture sought a different kind of “gold,” based in community, connection with nature, and a desire to be long-term stewards of the land.
 
For years, an uneasy tension divided the “rednecks,” loggers and others who saw the newcomers as a threat to their way of life, and the “hippies” whose numbers gradually increased, and eventually, established thriving businesses, alternative schools, a vibrant arts culture, a lively community radio station and scattered organic farms in the area.
 
A common struggle helped bring them together—the threat of power dams that would destroy the beloved Yuba River, a playground for swimming and whitewater boating that the entire community enjoyed.  The South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), created to save the river led a 16-year fight that eventually brought Wild and Scenic River status to the Yuba in 1999.  Since then, SYRCL has continued to push the community toward environmental sustainability and now counts of hundreds of volunteers for its annual river cleanup and internationally recognized film festival.

You might call it “the little town that did.”  Nevada City is the center of a new vision for the future.  Its transition, though still incomplete, points the way to new lifestyles that will be needed in an era of increasing environmental and economic challenges.  Town Between Two Worlds highlights what a community can do to bring people together and build resilience. It is a film that will inspire other communities to do the same.

Directed by John de Graaf
Produced by Jennifer Ekstrom and John de Graaf
Consulting producer - Kevin White
Camera & Editing - Greg Davis

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wilder than wild: Fire, Forests and the future

Wilder than Wild: Fire, Forests and the Future exposes the impact of the war against fire, as fuel build-up and climate change converge to push California forests to a tipping point. Focusing on the Rim Fire, which burned a quarter of a million acres in the central Sierra, we show how forests that evolved with fire are now threatened by megafires. The health of much of the land that stores water and carbon, feeds and shelters a diversity of wildlife, and gives people the joys of recreation is in jeopardy. And the death of tens of millions of pines from bark beetle infestation has brought some forests past the point of no return. This crisis has motivated former adversaries with historically opposing interests to form stakeholder groups aimed at restoring the lands they all love and depend on. Working with scientists and innovative resource managers, they are building consensus on how to manage fire and protect our forests for the years ahead.

 

In their 13-minute film, The Fire Next Time, filmmakers Stephen Most and Kevin White examine how problematic policies, fuel build-up, and climate change converged to push a Sierra Nevada forest to a tipping point. Much of the land that once stored water and carbon, fed and sheltered a diversity of wildlife, and gave people the joys of recreation may never be restored. Many more forests are in danger of a similar fate. The response to the Rim Fire by resource managers and concerned stakeholders will inform efforts to save other forested lands. All of these issues are to be explored in depth in their hour-long film Wilder Than Wild.

Producers: Stephen Most & Kevin White
Director: Kevin White
Writer: Stephen Most

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Zoo Story: The evolution of the american zoo

Zoo Story explores the past, present and future of North American zoos.  We trace the fascinating and little-known story of how zoos have evolved from places largely devoted to recreation with a secondary focus on science to centers for wildlife and habitat conservation as well as environmental education.  And we meet the animals and people who make zoos such special places.